Penguin Place Loses Its Mascot

Last night around 9:30 I heard some very disturbing noises from under my desk.  I peered into the dark space and saw a silhouette of my cat Otis curled up in against the wall.  He was making some not very pleasant sounds, and I knew something was not right. I called for him and there was a little not very Otis-like meow, so I grabbed a penguin flashlight and saw Otis  (who was never sick a day in his life unless you count the time he ate about two feet of ribbon) looking quite distressed.  I crawled under the desk and scooped a near limp Otis up in my arms, placed him on my lap and called the 24 hour animal hospital, got directions and told them I was on the way.   He passed away en-route to the hospital and according to the vet most likely had  the kitty equivalent of a heart attack.  I know everyone says this about their cat, but Otis was not your typical house cat.  He weighed about 25 lbs and was not all that fat.  Just big boned.  We adopted him when he was 4 years old back in 2002 and when I first met Otis I was a more than taken aback upon seeing him.  I’d not had a cat since college and wasn’t sure if I was ready for this big kitty.  He was the biggest cat I had ever seen, and according to his owner (not that anyone could ever own Otis), he enjoyed being help upside down, which when stretched out in that position made him at least  a yard long.  Let’s just say I had second thoughts, but my friends who were giving him to us assured me he was harmless.  As it turned out he was a gentle giant and he loved being around people, especially kids. Whenever I was working in Penguin Place, be it in Brooklyn or here in Northampton, he loved to lounge around the “Igloo” and keep me company.  Whenever an intrepid customer would make the pilgrimage to Penguin Place to shop in person, they would almost always encounter Otis, and over the years I’ve heard in one form or another, in a multitude of languages, “Holy sh*t!  That’s the biggest f&^king cat I’ve ever seen!”  I even once had a cat phobic Japanese man run out the door and down the hall screaming in terror upon meeting Otis.  He refused to come back in until I locked Otis in another room.  But, most Penguin Place customers who stopped by the “igloo” over the years required two things, a picture in front of my old fridge filled with plush penguins, and a picture with Otis.   At about 25 lbs, Otis certainly was a gentle giant, and over the years has taken much playful abuse from both my little girls (Sophie 7 and Rose 3), who have only known our home with Otis as a member of the family.  He will be missed by all who had the pleasure to be allowed to rub his belly, and Penguin Place will never be or smell (yes, his litter box was in the Penguin Place bathroom) the same.

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5 Responses to “Penguin Place Loses Its Mascot”

  1. Karen Says:

    I’m so sorry to hear of Otis’ passing. Please be assured that he will always be in your and the girl’s heart. He seemed to have lived a wonderful life at your igloo and was blessed to have found you as his family.

  2. TikiOwl Says:

    Sorry for your loss…it is always difficult to lose ones who have provided such comfort and joy.

  3. Linda Says:

    I’m so sorry for your loss. It’s never easy.

  4. Ellen Says:

    So sorry for your loss. Sox, Toes, Girlie and all the penguins in the house and I can only imagine your heartache. Take care.

  5. Laurie Glos Says:

    I’m sorry to hear about your loss. He will live on forever in your memories.

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